Cablegate: Russia: 2009 Country Report On Terrorism

DE RUEHMO #3081/01 3561452
P 221452Z DEC 09




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 109980

1. Per reftel, post submits the 2009 Country Report on Terrorism for
Russia. Embassy POC for this report is poloff Jules Silberberg,
office phone: 7-495-728-5042; email:

General Assessment

2. Terrorist attacks resumed in European Russia with the November 27
attack on the Moscow to St. Petersburg express train. A second
explosion, as investigators combed the site of the attack for clues,
occurred the following day and injured the chief of the
Investigative Committee. Chechen separatists or ultra-nationalists
are the primary suspects in this incident, which killed 26 and
wounded 90. It is the deadliest terrorist incident in Russia
outside the North Caucasus since 2004.

3. Terrorist attacks also continued in the North Caucasus, where the
decline in violence in Chechnya has been replaced by an increase in
terrorism in Dagestan, North Ossetia, and Ingushetia. These attacks
were often difficult to differentiate from criminal acts motivated
by greed or revenge. Russia did not offer safe haven to terrorists,
but there was evidence of a foreign terrorist presence in the North
Caucasus with international financial and ideological ties. Russia
claims to have interdicted 69 terrorist operations in 2009, although
the government has not provided many details. The Russian
government continued to view counterterrorism as a top priority in
the bilateral relationship, and considered its cooperation in this
field with the United States a major success.

4. The 1998 federal law "On Fighting Terrorism" and the 2006 federal
law "On Countering Terrorism" remain the main counterterrorism legal
authorities. On January 11 President Medvedev signed amendments to
the law "On Countering Terrorism" that abrogate jury trial for
espionage and terrorism cases. In April, Russia lifted an almost
ten-year long anti-terrorist regime in Chechnya that had severely
restricted civil liberties and put the region under the direct
authority of the Federal Security Service (FSB). In July the
Ministry of Justice drafted a law on compensation for civilian
victims of counter terrorist operations. The National Antiterrorism
Committee, organized in 2006, is the main government body
coordinating the Russian government's response to the terrorist
threat. Interagency efforts to combat terrorism through
anti-narcotics enforcement remain a challenge, particularly the use
of financial intelligence to interrupt narcotics sales that provide
revenue to terrorists.

5. While the terrorism in Chechnya had been directly tied with
separatist movements, the growing violence elsewhere in the region
is harder to classify and is sometimes attributed to conflicts among
clans or criminal activities. Throughout the North Caucasus, groups
have for the most part moved away from mass attacks on civilians in
favor of targeted attacks on policemen, local interior ministry
officials, and departments responsible for fighting the insurgency.
On June 5 a sniper killed the Dagestan Interior Ministry chief and
on June 22 Ingush President Yevkurov was injured by a suicide
bomber. In August an attack on an Ingush police station killed 20
and wounded 90.

Terrorism Financing

6. Russia is a member of the Financial Action Task Force on Money
Laundering and Terrorist Financing (FATF). It is also a leading
member, chair, and primary funding source of a similar body known as
the Eurasian Group on combating money laundering and financing of
terrorism (EAG). The EAG members are Russia, China, Belarus,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. Russia, through
the EAG, provides technical assistance and funding towards improving
legislative and regulatory frameworks and operational capabilities.

Foreign Government Cooperation

7. The U.S. and Russian Counterterrorism Coordinators met in
November to advance cooperation within the context of the United
States-Russia Counterterrorism Working Group. They agreed to work
together in the multilateral arena to strengthen international
counterterrorism norms and increase capacity building; to focus on
Afghanistan with particular regard to counterterrorism/terrorism
finance issues, with special reference to strengthening the UNSCR
1267 sanctions, and on countering the ideological dimension of
violent extremism; and to work on improving the bilateral exchange
of transportation security issues.

8. Cooperation continued on a broad range of counterterrorism
issues, including efforts to destroy, safeguard, and prevent the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. U.S. and Russian law
enforcement agencies share substantive, concrete terrorism

MOSCOW 00003081 002 OF 002

intelligence. Regulating and investigating terrorist websites was a
major concern with numerous requests to the U.S. for assistance from
both the FSB and the Cybercrime Directorate.

9. At the St. Petersburg G8 Summit in July 2006, the United States
and Russia jointly announced the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear
Terrorism and invited other nations to join. The Initiative
demonstrated Russia's effort to take a leadership role to combat
nuclear terrorism. It now includes 75 partner nations, which
cooperate in a variety of ways, including safeguarding radioactive
and nuclear materials, preventing nuclear smuggling, and sharing
information. In July 2009 President Medvedev joined President Obama
in a Joint Statement, which pledged enhanced efforts to prevent WMD
terrorism through international cooperation, citing the fifth
plenary meeting of the Initiative in the Netherlands in June.

10. In June, Russia hosted the Eighth International Meeting of the
Heads of special services, security agencies, and law-enforcement
organizations, which the FBI, CIA, DOE, and NCTC attended. The
ninth meeting is scheduled for June 2010 in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
The 2009 agenda included discussion of use of the Internet for
terrorist purposes, efforts to counter radicalization and the
subsequent recruitment of terrorists, the development of an
international counterterrorism database, and the prevention of WMD
terrorism through UNSCR 1540 and other instruments.

11. Russia continued to work with regional groups to address
terrorism, including the EU, NATO (through the NATO-Russia Council),
the SCO, and the OSCE.


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